Friday, May 16, 2008

And now, I quote myself

Today James Maliszewski linked to an old post of mine. Because I'm a total egomaniac, I followed the link. Man, I totally forgot writing this in the comments section of that old post of mine:
I suppose D&D could be reinvented, repackaged, and remarketed to the world at large. To what end, though? I already go through long periods of alienation from the modern iterations of D&D and I don't think I'm the only longtime player that feels that way from time to time. What good would it be to save roleplaying if by doing so we have to transform it into something unrecognizable to the loyal fans?
I wrote that in December 2005!


  1. Settembrini5:02 PM

    I JUST wanted to tell you:

    Hard Rock -> Heavy Metal.

    Now look at what they have blossomed and splintered into. Look how divisive the XMetal fandom has become.

    Connect the dots.

  2. Not everything that's new is bad. I'm not saying that 4E is gonna be good, mind you. But it's newness does not automatically mean that it will be bad.

    And really, when did D&D slip into such a huge nostalgia funk? I just don't get it.

    But then, I don't really understand why people seem to think all the re-treads of the cartoons and tv shows of my early child are so wonderful.

  3. Not everything that's new is bad.

    Maybe I'm misreading Jeff's words, but I don't think he's talking about "good" or "bad" at all (and doesn't specifically seem to be talking about 4E), but rather a false kind of success.

    To give (what I suspect may be) a comparable example, say you've got a spicy chilled vegetarian soup that you love, and that your friends love, and you want it to have a bigger audience than just you and your friends.

    You show it to a restaurant guy. He loves it. He comes up with an idea to make it a huge national hit. The plan includes heating it, and adding meat, and removing the spiciness, and thickening it so it's a stew. Other than that, it's the same thing (same vegetables are included, same level of salt, etc).

    This may well produce a magnificently good bowl of mild hot meat stew inspired by the original spicy chilled vegetarian soup. This may well produce a huge hit that sells millions of bowls of stew worldwide. This may well be an excellent idea that should be pursued and embraced and supported. But what it does _not_ do is successfully sell the spicy chilled vegetarian soup to a wider audience, and it would be dishonest to claim otherwise.

    That, at least, is how I interpret it. But I may well be projecting :)

  4. You've got the right of it, S. John.

  5. pjork1:02 AM

    How does this not apply equally to recent discussions advocating the creation of old school products repackaged and remarketed to appeal to a broader audience?

  6. pjork: to stick with S John's analogy, I'd say it's a question of changing the decor, the table linens, the presentation vs. changing the menu.

  7. Analogy can be a powerful and useful conceptual tool, and I think s. john used it appropriately, but it can also be extended to support whatever position one advocates. I could stick with that analogy and suggest that we are not talking about the soup alone but the entire restaurant that invented the soup, and that by changing the decor and table linens we are losing the charm of the original restaurant. But I think that would be pretty stupid, and I'd rather forget about the soup and talk about game products.

  8. pjork: to stick with S John's analogy, I'd say it's a question of changing the decor, the table linens, the presentation vs. changing the menu.

    That sounds more like a new edition, though, and my analogy had nothing to do with new editions.

  9. Oh damn, I've gone and put everyone off their suppers! Or something.

    You are right about analogies, pjork, speaking for myself anyway: I am prone to fiddle with them with more playfulness than precision.

    And, in so doing to sometimes forget, or misapprehend entirely, what was being talked about in the first place. Sorry to manhandle your metaphor, S John.

  10. Oh, no worries; it can't feel anything :)